Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to go for the cheap fix.  Especially when it comes to fixtures and frames!

Nashville Wire recently came to this difficult and challenging conclusion with a robotics cell that they had worked on with nexAir and Miller Electric. The team at nexAir/Miller put together a tailored package for Nashville Wire featuring top-of-the-line Panasonic robots to manage a customized welding program for the customer’s retail display rack line. Nashville Wire decided that they could acquire an inexpensive frame to support the fixture for the robotic weld program. However, with everything in place, the frame did not ensure that the specialized robotic welders could achieve consistent and repeatable results.

The problem was that the fixture mounting-frames were not robust or rigid enough to prevent parts from sagging and trampolining during the welding procedures.  The result was that the welding robots couldn’t consistently hit their marks to meet the product line needs.

To everyone’s great relief however, Miller Electric had already experienced the value that Cobb Tool frames and fixtures could deliver. Cobb Tool evaluated the cell make-up and product line needs to design a lightweight aluminum fixture frame to match the existing robotic weld program. With a servo-controlled precision headstock and customized tailstock, Cobb Tool’s made-to-order picture frame fixture immediately met the robotics requirements. Cobb Tool was also able to tailor the versatility of the tooling to accommodate programming for hundreds of different Nashville Wire products — the frames were precise enough to meet other welding robot demands!

It was so successful in fact that within days of the Cobb Tool fixture’s installation, Nashville put in an order for an additional robot with nexAir, Miller Electric and Cobb Tool. This order expanded to two additional robotic welding cells for other operations across the South.

The Right Fixtures Actually Sell Robotics

Miller Electric is working with Cobb Tool to create a set of standard fixtures to sell as part of packaged deals with their welding robot cells. Their Nashville Wire experience convinced them that Cobb Tool’s fixture mounting-frames make their robotics shine. Ultimately, the relatively inexpensive addition of a custom frame to a cell package eliminates all doubts about the value of expensive robot investment and ensures repeatability. And these days, with the challenges of finding and retaining skilled craftspeople, welding robots and programmed cells are becoming that much more valuable to manufacturers.